Friday, December 30, 2011

Weighting Game --- New Year New US!


As long as I can remember, I’ve been consumed with my weight. Having been on both ends of the spectrum, I can definitely own up to my struggles with weight. I remember the first time I noticed I was a little heavier than the “other girls”. I was in the fifth grade, and my mom lovingly suggested I not eat another something or other because I was getting chubby. I actually called myself going on a diet in the fifth grade. It’s funny now but then I was devastated. I remember packing my lunch and having water, townhouse crackers, and a couple boxes of raisins.
As time went on it seemed as though I gained about five to ten pounds every year. So much so that by my senior year in high school this is what I looked like.



I struggled all through high school and college with a desire to slim down but I didn’t know where to begin or how to eat. Freshman year in college became my take-charge year. I remember my dorm room being stocked with Tae Bo VHS (yes, VHS), and Slim Fast. I didn’t see any results. Not drastically anyway.
Sophomore year, I was required to take a PE class and a health elective. I took a nutrition course and the little bit that I learned charged me. My professor mentioned how vegetarians tend to way less than meat eaters. I decided that when the fall semester was over and January rolled around, I’d turn over a new leaf and give up meat for good. That was eight years ago and I’ve been a vegetarian since.
When I first became a vegetarian, the weight began to steadily melt away. I took up yoga and made it a point to do a [walking] lap around campus every morning before classes. I became vegan briefly, started juicing when I could, eating an abundance of raw food and became the epitome of a health nut.
I weighed 250 pounds going in and weighed in at 150 going out. I’d done it! I had lost the weight that had bugged me for years! But there was one problem, I didn’t know how to maintain. I went out with my friends, had a few drinks, ate pizza and nachos and expected to stay slim. Even though there wasn’t any meat on my plate, I still had massive amounts of junk food and expected to stay thin simply because I wasn’t consuming meat.
I have the type of physique that HAS to be worked on to be maintained. I’m not effortlessly slim. I started gaining weight really fast after the second time I was laid off and I didn’t know how to make it stop. Still practicing a vegetarian lifestyle but eating TONS of processed foods, not being dedicated with exercise, and being extremely depressed does not a skinny girl make. I was averaging a steady gain of about 10 pounds a YEAR! Over the span of four years….
This past summer, I decided to join Weight Watchers but in one meeting someone asked what the difference between brown rice and white rice was and the meeting leader responded, “Nothing! It’s the same thing.” Because of how nutritionally sound I’d been for close to eight years, I took offence to her not giving a truthful answer. Well, I guess it was true based on the Weight Watchers Points Plus system but in actuality there’s a big difference between the two. Needless to say, I didn’t go back after that meeting.
My brother passed in July and that emotional trigger sent me over the edge of “comfort” eating and not really thinking much about what I put in my body.
I realized recently that I had to get back to brass-tax. I had to re-educate myself on what the body needs, what weight loss methods really work, and which ones will truly help me lose and maintain weight.
Now that I know where to begin (AGAIN) and having a partner in my sister Racquel, I can pinpoint my food struggles which are sugar and processed foods. Including all veggie nuggets, burgers, frozen waffles, veggie sausage, Swedish Fish, Air Heads, Twizzlers, Skittles. I have a weakness for chewy candies and sugar has become THE demon that I really need to exorcise (immediately).

So here’s the plan:
I will be eliminating the following things from my diet (indefinitely) –
1)   Sugar (including raw and unbleached sugars)
2)   Oil (oil is considered good for you but is a highly concentrated source of calories)
3)   Gluten (I’m leaning towards the suspicion that I have an allergy and getting it out of my diet will help me really know if I do; puffiness in my face, abdomen, and ankles)
4)   Caffeine (We all should do it at some point)
5)   All processed foods
6)   And of course, meat and dairy


I’m on a mission to look BETTER than I looked here….








Let’s make 2012 a great year and do it together! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fresh Taste Friday ---Recipe #8--- Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

DISCLAIMER:: A cookie is a cookie is a cookie. Please, keep in mind that this is NOT considered health food and if you're on a mission to vegan slenderness these and all vegan goodies should be consumed in moderation. Fortunately, vegan cookies are always 100% cholesterol free.


Good morning and Merry Christmas all,

It's that time of year again! Hot apple cider, hot cocoa, soy nog, and cookie baking! The cookie baking has to be, hands down, my favorite part of the holidays. I love to pop in a classic Christmas movie and bake to my hearts content to share with others, of course. The adage still applies with vegans, a second on the lips forever on the hips.

Anyway, I figured I'd crank out two recipes this morning so that I can have a head start for next week.

This week, it's all about the gingerbread cookie! I never had the pleasure of baking these before I became vegan (again) but I'm pretty sure these will be a holiday staple from now on. Because of how firmly these cookies bake, they're perfect to be decorated and hung on the Christmas tree for an added bit of character. And who wouldn't love an edible Christmas ornament?

The recipe I'm about to share with you, I found in the Lush Christmas newsletter, which apparently was taken from the site vegan-nutrionista.com (great site!).

Here's what you'll need...

1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)
1/2 cup fancy molasses
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 tsp freshly grated ginger (including juice)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated is recommended; I used the regular McCormick's)
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I like unbleached but today I used whole wheat all purpose)

What to do:

*I use a Kitchen Aid mixer so as the machine is running I just dump in the ingredients in the order needed.* Cream together the coconut oil and sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and vanilla extract. Add grated ginger and juice to wet ingredients and blend until combined. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda, mixing well. Slowly add flour (I did this 1/4 cup at a time) and mix until dough comes together. My dough was a bit crumbly but it didn't seem to make much difference. Shape dough into 2 discs and chill at least 2 hours. I chilled it over night. Preheat oven to 375 and on a floured surface, roll out 1 disc to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into festive shapes. Bake ON PARCHMENT PAPER!!!! Very important. Bake 6-8 minutes depending on your oven. Edges should be firm and the centers should still be soft (when they come out). Allow to cool completely before decorating. This is how mine turned out. I'm about to start decorating them now! Have a great Friday!!!!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cold Buggin' ---> Natural Cold Relief

Good morning,

It's been a few weeks since I've posted on this blog but I'm glad to be back! I've had a bunch of blog post ideas over the weekend so I'll be posting more as the holidays approach. Before I get into a world wind of posting holiday vegan cookie recipes, I wanted to give a few tips on how to beat the cold germ. I have a little cold and it occurred to me that I may not be the only one with the sniffles. What, with the weather being us up and down as it's been, it's hard not to pick up the "bug".

Tis the season to be coughing... and sneezing... and aching... and everything else but there are some sure fire natural remedies that have proven to beat the winter common cold blues and get you up and running and ready to hit the mall with a vengeance.

My first immune booster is to juice your citrus. We know our oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits pack a vitamin C punch and vitamin C keeps our immune system vital and healthy. When you juice citrus it's best to drink it straight away. It's potency dwindles as time passes so get all you can as soon as the air hits it. Personally, I think it tastes differently if you wait too long to drink it. Juicing radishes also helps TREMENDOUSLY! They cleanse the nasal passages. Radishes have a very potent smell but the juice actually has a pleasant taste. I like to juice them with carrots.

Secondly, my favorite immune booster is Emergen-C. It's an awesome supplement that can be taken all year. It comes in a host of flavors, has a little fizz and a nice mild flavor. Currently, I have orange and raspberry on hand. I bought the two flavors from a bulk supplier but there are a myriad of flavors. They can be purchased literally EVERYWHERE now-a-days.

Secondly, there are a great variety of homeopathic and natural cough and cold remedies on the market. Your best bet would be to head to your local health food store or vitamin supplier (The Vitamin Shoppe is a great place). I'm a fan of the Naturade Sugar Free Expec or the Naturade Herbal Expec. They're both expectorants that loosen and obliterate your "cold" and get it out of your system without sending you into a drunken stooper and having you wake up with what feels like a mild hangover. (Also pictured below are Ricola cough suppressants and Yogi Tea in the Cold Season Remedy (not a fan of the taste).


Another one that works well for me is... the enema! Yep, that's right! An enema is a great way to get rid of a cold. A lot of that mucus is being stored not only in your lungs but in your colon so having a good poop often eases you out of your cold quite nicely. 

Lastly, the hot tottie! Everyone's grandmother had a hot tottie cure for a bad winter cold. It usually entailed some hot whiskey or brandy. No doubt this worked like a charm but if you want to take a milder approach this one works for me every time. I like to boil a tea kettle of water. I dice about an inch of fresh ginger and add it to my cup of choice. I pour in a couple tablespoons of unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar. I really prefer the organic. Once you've had the conventional filtered version you'll see why. I also squeeze in some fresh lemon. You can also sweeten it with agave nectar (or honey if you're not opposed to consuming it). Once your water has boiled, pour it over the four ingredients in your tea cup and sip slowly. I promise, this is the wonder "drug"! I have no idea why it works so well but I do know it works. I'm boiling some water as we speak. 

Pictured below are two bottles of apple cider vinegar. Take a stab at guessing which one is filtered and which one isn't. 


If you guessed the one with the CLOUDY appearance to be the unfiltered one... well, you guessed the obvious! lol!!! To me, the unfiltered has a better taste. Strong. But Better. 


Try any of these cold season remedies to squash the cold bug with your snow boots or post a comment below with some of your tried and true, favorite, natural cold season remedies. Have a great Wednesday! 


~Keep joOcing,

Ashley 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fresh Taste Friday ---Recipe #7--- Sweet Potato Casserole VEGANIZED

Growing up, there wasn't a Thanksgiving or a Sunday dinner for that matter, that went by that our mother didn't prepare sweet potatoes. Whether she baked them or candied them, we were having sweet potatoes! My favorite way to enjoy them is either in the form of a baked french fry (which I ate last night; will share the simple recipe soon) or as simply a baked potato with vegan butter and a little organic brown sugar. Tis the season to fancy it up a bit! Our mother usually would candy her sweet potatoes for the holidays but I remember a few occasions where she mashed some potatoes and topped them with some marshmallows. Talk about a classic. I've heard this recipe called yammallow and in essence that's really what it is --> Yams and marshmallows!

Lately, I've become obsessed with veganizing and healthifizing (totally not a word) traditional or readily recognizable recipes. I've also found that if you don't tell people it's vegan, they really wouldn't know the difference. It's all about the layers of flavors and making the vegan version taste a million times better than the original.

This will easily serve about 8 people. Since it's the holidays, you'll definitely want to make more. I promise this recipe is your ticket to being a holiday vegan rock star!!!!

Oh yeah! Vegan marshmallows are a MUST!!!! All marshmallows aren't vegan. Well, none are unless the package says VEGAN. The reason being is because gelatin is derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. All of the commercial marshmallows I've seen on the market contain gelatin making them a non-vegan food. My favorite vegan marshmallows are Dandies and yes, they taste better than the real thing! (All of the measurements can be doubled or tripled depending on the amount of people you're serving)

In addition to the vegan marshmallows, you'll need

4 boiled sweet potatoes (or one per guest)
Lots of cinnamon (I never measure the cinnamon)
4 tbs brown sugar (or 1 tbs per guest)
4 tbs vegan margarine ( 1 tbs per guest)
2 tbs vegan cane sugar (1 tbs per guest)
4 tbs cornstarch mixed with 1/4 of soy milk or soy creamer (to double simply use 6 tbs cornstarch to 1/2 cup soy milk)
1 bag of marshmallows should suffice but if you like it gooey get another bag and have at it!




After the sweet potatoes have been boiled, let them cool until they can be handled. Peel them and if you have a potato ricer press the boiled potatoes through it so the strings can be removed. I just prefer the strings out. This process also takes care of mashing the potatoes for you so from here toss in all of the ingredients (except the marshmallows) and mix until well combined. Place in a casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. It should be bubbly around the edges and starting to firm up on the top. You don't want it to be too firm. Top with the marshmallows and bake for another 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven). You're just looking for the marshmallows to look like this.....

Enjoy!!!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It’s HaLlOwEen






Between now and next Monday American’s will consume an abundance of sugar.  That’s not even considering the fact that the holidays are coming. Heck they are here!  There will be office parties, trick or treating, mall events, house parties and the list goes on and on.  All of these events spell one thing and one thing only…..SUGAR! Sugar is literally killing the human body.  Yes it taste good, but the high fructose and sucrose does such damage .  Sugar can suppress the immune system, it interferes with the mineral relationship with the body, can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.  Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides, reduces the body’s defense against bacterial infection, reduces bone density, leads to ovarian cancer, increases fasting glucose levels, copper deficiency, interferes with calcium and magnesium.  Weakens eyesight, can cause arthritis, gallstones, appendicitis, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, and the list literally goes on and on.  Sugar is a weapon to the body.  Is an occasional sweet tooth going to kill you….NO! However, we shouldn’t want to aid in these conditions effecting us, and one way to aid is to continue putting the poison in our bodies.  Sodas, chips, cakes, ice cream, etc.  October 31, 2011 there will be pillowcases and garbage bags filled with nothing but sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  I remember when I was a kid my mother would take my bag of candy and put it in the freezer so that I would not consume it during that week.  Not just Halloween though.  Our daily Starbucks Frapps, and Lattes,  Mocha’s, you name it.  High sugar follows us, we eat it and it sits in our bodies eating our teeth away, our calcium away, the magnesium, our immune system………AWAY! Reduce your sugar intake.  Like way down!  There are alternatives to sugar, you just gotta go out and research to find it, but it’s there. 
Have a great day and Keep JoOcing!
~Racquel

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fresh Taste Friday ---Recipe #6--- Racquel’s Faux Fish Cakes


Racquel’s Faux Fish cakes
1 lb. extra firm tofu
5 carrots (finely shredded)
Parsley (finely shredded)
Cilantro (finely shredded)
Medium onion (small dice)
1 large celery stalk
4 garlic cloves (minced)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce/liquid aminos
6 tbsp nutritional yeast
Tbsp ground mustard
3 tbsp old bay seasoning
Pepper to taste
1 egg replacer
1 cup +3 tbsp flour

DIRECTIONS: Remove tofu from package wrap in clean kitchen towel to fully drain.  Sit on plate and sit a pot or another plate on top for about 15 to 20 minutes.  You won’t believe how much water is inside of tofu.  Meanwhile, sauté your onion and celery on medium heat in non-stick pan coated with extra virgin olive oil.  Sauté for 3 minutes or until translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat and transfer to bowl to cool.  By now the tofu should be ready.  Remove from towel, and crumble with your hands as fine as you can….NO CHUNKS!  Add carrots, parsley, and cilantro.  Mix well with tofu….very well! Add nutritional yeast, soy sauce or liquid aminos, old bay, 3 tbs of flour, mustard and pepper.  Mix well with a spoon (I prefer my clean hands to mix).  By now onion mixture should be cooled.  Add to tofu mixture.  MIX WELL! Add 1 egg replacer (instructions to follow) mix well.  Add lemon juice, mix, vinegar and mix.  You should begin to get an amazing smell from what’s in your bowl.

Combine into balls and form patties and take the other cup of flour and lightly coat patties and put into pan for frying.  3 minutes on each side.  Flip when golden brown.

Egg Replacer
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil
Mix well until paste like.



Fresh Taste Friday ---Recipe #5--- Sloppy Mike's

I haven't had the traditional Sloppy Joe since I was in grade school. My sisters used to love them (as did I) and I remember the mass hysteria they would cause in the lunch room when Sloppy Joe's appeared on the lunch schedule. However, I'm pretty sure those were made with Manwich. About a week ago, I was at work and had this sudden hankering for the old classic, kid-friendly meal. I literally hadn't had one of these in almost 20 years so I had no idea where the craving came from. Maybe it was the cold, rainy weather. At any rate, I couldn't wait to get home and experiment. Manwich, coincidentally is vegan but it's processed and I've grown very leery of canned and processed foods in the past three months simply because it's not fresh and because there are a lot of things added to keep it safe in that tin can. Things that offer absolutely no nutritional value. And let's face it, it tastes like it came from a can. My mom made hers from scratch when my sisters and brother and I were kids and I'm about to teach you how to do the same thing only without the fat and cholesterol that heavy read meat (and even turkey) leave lurking between the buns.

So here goes:


Ashley's Sloppy Mike's

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound tofu or beef-less ground "beef" crumbles (I use the Trader Joe's brand)
1 large yellow or sweet onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos (this tastes like soy sauce without the salt; feel free to use soy sauce if you'd like)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black strap molasses
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use either Texas Pete or Trader Joe's pepper sauce)
Black pepper to taste
Whole wheat buns (Trader Joe's whole wheat hamburger buns are vegan) or Trader Joe's Tater Tots (also vegan)


In a large cast iron skillet, melt coconut oil and saute tofu or crumbles for a few minutes (tofu until it's brown; crumbles until they're warm). Add chopped onion, green pepper, and nutritional yeast and continue to saute in skillet. I like to cook the veggies down until they're almost soft (they'll continue to soften as you add the rest of the ingredients. Add the ketchup, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, and lemon juice and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The kitchen should start to smell like one big Sloppy Mike. Add your hot sauce and black pepper and simmer for a few minutes. Enjoy!



I like these one of two ways. Either on a bun or over tater tots! Believe me, the tater tot version will change your life :-)



Have a wonderful Friday and Veg Out!

Ashley

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot Breakfast of Champions ---→ Steel-Cut Oatmeal -3 Ways


I recently discovered steel-cut oatmeal and it was literally love at first bite. I kind of pride myself on being an oatmeal aficionado. I hated it as a kid but as an adult it’s really been the only breakfast food that will keep me satiated well into the lunch hours of the day. As an “aficionado”, I only would purchase boxes of instant oatmeal. Which is healthy, right? Eh! They’re healthier than bacon and eggs but have you ever taken the time to read all of the ingredients on the box? The list is ongoing and I don’t recognize a good many of those ingredients.
Even if you’re a straight up rolled-oats-on-top-of-the-stove person you may realize that they aren’t as satisfying as they could be. They’re rolled to hurry the cooking process. Which in this day-in-age is a must! Who isn’t in a hurry?
Steel-cut oats are notorious for taking longer to cook. They are whole grain groats (Yes, groats! The inner portion of the oat kernel.) They’ve been cut into two or three pieces by steel rather than rolled like our more recognizable variety of oatmeal. Therefore, they’re far less processed and much heartier than rolled oats. The nutrients in this oatmeal are super duper copious as well. It’s a great source of iron and fiber and packs five grams of protein per serving. They have a nutty flavor and have a tendency to have a chewiness to them (which I rather like). Once cooked, they resemble rice while still maintaining that oatmeal consistency.
Traditionally, steel-cut or Irish oats take at least 30 minutes to cook (less if they’ve been pre-soaked). I know you’re probably thinking, “Who in the world has that kind of time in the morning to make oatmeal of all things?” Well, I found a quick cooking version of the stuff at my holy grail Trader Joe’s. I pay $2.99 for a 24 oz can (17 servings). That’s less than 18 cents a serving! *picture below





These bad boys cook up in about eight minutes and are so much better than the instant version in my opinion. In the autumn and winter months, I crave a hot breakfast almost every morning and oatmeal never bores me. Mainly because you can add so many different dried fruits and syrups to switch up the oatmeal magic. Here, I’ll share the three ways I’m currently enjoying my steel-cut hunger busters!

**These recipes are calculated for one serving and can be doubled or tripled easily for more hungry tummies J

Option #1
Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Cranberries

¾ cups of water
¼ cup steel-cut oats
a pinch of fine sea salt
1 tablespoon organic light brown sugar
1 tablespoon organic pure maple syrup
¼ cup dried cranberries
tea pot of boiling water (just in case)

In a small sauce pan, bring water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and toss in steel-cut oats. Stirring periodically (uncovered). Lower the heat to medium and continue to stir as oatmeal thickens. Add brown sugar and maple syrup. Sometimes, I find that the oatmeal will begin to get a little too thick (for my taste) so as I stir, I’ll add about a tablespoon of boiling water at a time.  This step is only necessary if you like your oatmeal a little bit looser like I do. Toss is cranberries and allow them to soften for just a minute and serve!

Option #2
Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal
Follow the same steps as in option #1 but leave out cranberries and add a tablespoon more of either maple syrup or brown sugar. (I wouldn’t suggest doubling both as your oatmeal will be too sweet).

Option #3  (pictured below)



Cranberry-Orange Oatmeal
(same amounts of water, oatmeal, and salt)
1 tbs of fresh orange juice
1 tsp of orange zest
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup dried cranberries

Proceed with the same method of cooking the oats. After about a minute add the orange juice and orange zest. Continue stirring and then add the cinnamon and brown sugar. Again, if this gets too thick, add a little bit of boiling water from your teapot. Add your cranberries and serve.


Please feel free to send us your variations of steel-cut oatmeal!!!!

Twitter @GoddessNectar and @RawktheJoOce

Next week’s recipe clue: Comfort is the key when making this messy lunch or dinner treat. Keep a napkin handy for this veganized flash-back recipe!

Have a great Friday!

Keep JoOcing, RAWk on and Veg Out,

Ashley



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Six Years Later -----> Heaven Rejoices Over One :-)

This morning I was digging through an old email address for the password to one of my vegan cooking sites. I typed in the words vegweb and and old correspondence from me (Ashley) to Racquel popped up. I'd sent her a link to www.vegweb.com and was encouraging her to become a new convert and join all the meat free fun. As you'll read, she wasn't too psyched about it. By this time, I had been a vegetarian for a little over a year and hadn't yet become a vegan (for the first time) but I was sticking to my guns! I thought this would be fun to share since now-a-days (SIX YEARS LATER) she's just as passionate about her plant-based diet as I am. Enjoy!


From Racquel:
HEY SWEETIE PIE,

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE "SOUTH BEACH DIET" I WANT TO TRY IT.


From Ashley: Well, I can say that it is similar to the Atkins diet. As fair warning, any diet that is high in animal protien will cause your bones to secrete significant amouts of calcium, which is a vital nutrient especially in women (active women). Also the low carb thing will cause you to become sluggish because of the lack of complex carbohydrates which are vital to proper brain function. What you really need to do is become mindful of how much animal protein you eat on a regular basis. I am not just saying this because of my lifestyle, but because it is true. I am also not saying this because I want you to bannish meat from your diet - that was a choice that I made for myself! When consuming animal products you are not just eating your calories but whatever calories that animal ate as well. You have to work just as hard to get that burned off of your body. Animal protein can have abverse affects on the digestive system, the bones, and the waistline! Think about it and hit me back!

~Dr. Mac, MD

From Racquel: YOU AND YOUR FREAK'N PREACH'N FROM THE VEGAN BIBLE.  Upgrade your email with 1000's of emoticon iconsI GOTTA START SLOW POSSIBLY WITH EATING JUST VEGGIES LIKE YOU DID FOR ABOUT A YEAR.  YOU BETTER MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE GETTING PROPER PROTEIN GIRL.  HIT ME UP!!!!

From Ashley: Protein, protein - you meat eaters, I tell ya! Of course we get adequate amounts of protein and I'll tell ya how. First through fortified soy milk, which also supplies tons of calcium. Beans and legumes are rich in good protein without all of the fat and still giving a rich meaty flavor. Protein is found in adequate amounts in most plant foods - it's low in fruit, potatoes, and rice, but extremely high in those beans! I am going to prove to you that animals aren't the only source of adequate protein. Girl, you know that I don't jump into anything without researching it first. I am also doubling up on vital vitamins and minerals that most flesh eaters lack because my diet is plant centered and not meat centered. Meat supplies absolutely no fiber and no vitamins or minerals - if there are they are from what the now dead animal ate. The fiber that I get daily helps keep my bowels clean and running smoothly! Hit me back!
~Mac

From Racquel: heehehehe!  Do you think that less meat would help my sore knees now that I am playing ball again my knees always ache.  uhmmmm....guess what I am eating pasta Italiano soup it is wonderful and no meat.  ooh, you need to go to Kroger they have a wonderful vegan/veggie isle you'd love it...expensive but you'd love it.

From Ashley Restricting meat from your diet and eating only in moderation may result in relief for your soar joints. Also light yoga (seriously) will work wonders for sore joints causing them to work from a different range of motion and increasing flexibility! Either way you are bound to make those joints feel better. If you don't act soon you may have worse damage as you get older! THink about it and hit me back!

~Mac

From Racquel: YOU REALLY THINK YOU ARE A DR. SERIOUSLY THOUGH ALL OF THE ADVISE SOUNDS GREAT.  I WILL TAKE HEED.  WHEN I GET SOME MORE MONEY I AM GOING TO BUY AN ARRAY OF VEGGIES, AND NOW THAT THE WEATHER IS BREAKING I CAN GRILL THEM EGGPLANT, MUSHROOMS, SQUASH, ZUCCHINI,SNOW PEAS, ETC. I LIKE VEGGIES, THERE JUST ISN'T A WHOLE LOT TO DO WITH THEM.  MAYBE I WILL THUMB THROUGH MY VEGGIE COOK BOOK.

From Ashley: All of these sites offer great veggie recipes from salads to pasta! I know you will find something! GIve it shot - I think you are way too afraid to not eat meat. Imagine how good you will feel. Side note - meat is higher in fat than veggies (dug) but the fiber in the veggies (the fiber that ALL meat lacks) will cause you to eat much more while feeling full much faster. Fat does not fill you up nearly as fast as good wholesome fiber!


If you read this far, I decided to give you a little bonus and share the sites I shared with Racquel all those YEARS ago :-) 


Thanks for reading!

Keep JoOcing and RAWk On!

Ashley 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No More Mustache ----> The truth about DAIRY!


Remember the white milk mustache that we used to see on the billboards? Yeah, the ones promoting consumers to go and buy milk and to drink at least three glasses a day.  Yeah, if I’m a calf.  The USDA is something else.  Dairy is a quick way to the grave.  Notice how a calf grows into a huge cow, notice how we do too (no pun intended).  For me to criticize milk is like me cursing you-in America.  It’s been etched into our minds to drink this pasteurized solution that we call a drink. We tout it as extremely healthy.  I beg to differ.  I once felt like everyone else- that we need dairy…where will I get my calcium?  So we drink pesticides, and big, fat, cold glasses of hormones.  No wonder so many little girls are starting to look like grown women.  Dairy doesn’t keep us from breaking bones, it doesn’t cause Osteoporosis.  Did you know that an increased amount of dairy can cause cancer?  Hey, what about lactose intolerance? That doesn’t feel well….well the only reason the body is intolerant is because YOU ARE NOT A COW!  Milk doesn’t support sports performance, it’s full of fat, it causes digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, and it is not good on the lymph system…..and adds mucus!!!! Listen guys, occasionally you may want to grab an Oreo cookie (which is vegan) and want to dip it in some milk. Well use nut milk like walnut, almond, or coconut.  The body doesn’t need the calcium that much. It needs the vitamin D.  You can go outside and sit in the sun and get some Vitamin D. You can get supplements of Vitamin D. Just leave the dairy alone.  So “Got Milk?” I sure hope not! Go dairy free!!!! Clean up your body by not putting that poison in it.  Oh, and your children will be fine!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Realign Your Balance



Hey slow down, hold on, wait a minute, take a breath, relax, and be still.  Take some time and read, to breath the fresh air, to let the sun beat on your skin, to walk, to laugh.  Whatever is going on in your life will be there, when you return.  Right now, you are the one that matters. As a matter of fact, you should always be the one that matters.  Our spouses, children, jobs, finances, friends, enemies, etc., etc., always take the front seat of our lives.  I bet you didn’t know that stress, along with diet and exercise plays a huge role in acidifying and alkalizing your body.  What is known as our pH balance.  Yes, when we go to the doctor they are going to tell us you have high cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes or even cancer.  Your doctor does not get paid to tell you in full that your stress levels, your diet your exercise plays a huge role in your surviving these nasty diseases.  They don’t tell you that if you were disciplined and rebalanced you would see major changes.  That’s the truth.  Why don’t they tell you that? Because that doesn’t make them any money.  I know! I know! I’m not a doctor, nor did I play one on TV, but I know this to be true.  If you worked on realigning your body, you would see a major change.  This is not a “take a pill to cure an ill” this is what God put here on Earth for us to live by.  That said, did you know that human blood pH should be alkaline between 7.35-7.45.  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 healthy 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 7.0 is neutral.  Below 7.0 is acidic.  Above 7.0 is alkaline.  So am I saying acidic blood is bad? Well let’s just say it’s not good! An acidic pH can occur from, an acidic diet, emotional stress, toxic overload (like smoking, drinking and drugs) and /or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients.  The body tries to make up for the alkaline minerals or the lack there of by robbing the minerals that are there, therefore there is going to be a deficiency.  Your body is robbing from your body (seriously) the cells begin to decrease and its ability to repair those missing cells decrease.  The body was made to detoxify itself-but how can it, when the properties needed are absent? Well how does it become absent? By the things I listed above-we have to learn that “Ok, so the bill didn’t get paid on time this time, there is nothing I can do about it” AND MOVE ON!!!  Keep our stress levels down….in a world of nothing but stress that seems hard but it can be done.  Dismiss the stress, take deep breaths, get oxygen into your body, not just the rested  breathing, but deep breathes really heal the inside of your body.  Back away from your desk go outside and take a 15 minute walk.  Yep you knew it was coming…we gotta eat the right foods.  These typical AMERICAN DIETS just don’t work.  Our bodies were meant to be alkalized and the only way for that to happen is to eat plant based foods.  Eat to live! The doctor as I stated is not going to ask you “how much Kale do you eat?” “How much green juice do you drink?” “Do you have a juicer?” Every diet he or she gives you is going to include globs of acidifying foods that essentially break the body down.  Well Racquel, what foods are good and what foods are not? Are you saying that I can never enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, or Christmas meal, cookouts?
No, I’m not saying any of that, but I am saying that the longer we fill our bodies with poison because it feels good, we will be 6 feet under, rather quickly.
ACIDIC FOODS: Beef, chicken, eggs, liver, ocean fish, organ meats, Oysters, Pork, Veal, dairy, quark(whatever that is…still learning), bread, biscuits, cashews, peanuts, pistachios (my favorite)butter, corn oil, margarine, any artificial sweetener (even Splenda) Barley, brown rice syrup, chocolate(Heaven help me) fructose, honey, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar.
All I’m saying is if we don’t start making better choices with the foods we eat, our bodies are going to make us pay more and more every day.  We know that some things on the list (and that’s not the whole list) we eat every day.  Moderation is not usually part of the American vocabulary.  Moderation doesn’t mean once a week. 



Alkalizing Foods: Asparagus, Barley Grass, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Cayenne Pepper, Celery, Chives, Cucumber, Dandelion (staple) Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Red Cabbage, Green Juice, spinach, Beet, Carrot, Horseradish, Potatoes, Red Radish, Rutabaga, Turnip, Fruits:: Avocado, Lemon (top of the list) Limes, apricot, banana (ripe), currant, blueberry, cantaloupe, cherry, coconut, Date, Figs, grape, grapefruit, Plum, Mango (staple), orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple Raspberry, Watermelon, tomato,  lentils, Lima Beans, tofu, Navy Beans, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Seeds (cumin, fennel, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, wheat), Oils (flax, olive,) Fresh Water Fish (MODERATION) coconut milk, Sunflower oil.
Just make sure that even fruits that they are eaten in moderation, and fresh not cooked.  This is just part of the list, but it’s a great start.  Have a great day!!!!

Racquel
Keep JoOcing!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Product Review---->L’Equip 215XL Big Mouth Juicer Review

Good Morning JoOcers!!!! This is my new baby The L’Equip 215XL Big Mouth JoOcer.  I absolutely love this juicer.  One reason that I love is because it gives you a smooth, clean juice.  What I mean by that is absolutely no pulp, and when you clean up your pulp is very dry, meaning that it has extracted all of the juice.  



The L’Equip Model 215 XL Juicer has a “big mouth” but a “quiet motor” and it is designed with convenience in mind.  The feed tube  medium apples without slicing.  The pulp ejection is designed to shoot pulp directly into the pulp basket.  Very powerful motor.  It’s very easy to clean.  It has a 10 year warranty, and a 3 year warranty on the motor.  I have had my new baby for 2 weeks and he has put out efficiently.  This morning it produced for me my daily “Green Dream” Beet greens, Dandelion greens, Arugula, Celery, 2 kiwi, 2 Green Apples, Ginger root, and cucumber.  I call it that because we all dream of being healthy, eating healthy and living healthy, this juice makes it possible the natural way.  Then it produced for me “The Beat the Beet” Carrots, Pomegranate,  Pears, and Beets….so refreshing!!! I purchased the L’Equip Juicer because it is American made, and I am absolutely loving it. 

This is Racquel
Keep JoOcing!!!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh Taste Friday ---Recipe #3--- It's A Party Slaw

This past Sunday, our family had what seemed like a pre-Thanksgiving gathering. :-) My uncle was in town and it stands to reason when I good amount of you're kin folk are in town, you gotta eat! But what about Racquel and I? Well, my mother prepared some cabbage and I got the bright idea to make a fresh slaw. Most everyone had some and enjoyed it )along with everything else they ate. Which goes to show you that raw food transcends the palettes and my uncle will eat just about anything once. However, he really liked this recipe as did the rest of the clan and here it is. Give it a try!



I call it It's A Party Slaw because it looks like confetti or streamers in a bowl. Here's how you make it. Put the mayonnaise away :-)

1/2 head of green cabbage
1/2 half head of red cabbage
4 carrots

Dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1.5 tsp ground mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
Salt and pepper to taste


Take a vegetable peeler and peel the carrots. Discard the outter skin and continue to peel for a ribbon effect. Keep going until the carrot is pencil thin and you have a nice orange pile of ribbons. Cut your two types of cabbage in ribbon strips as well. A knife works just fine to achieve the same effect as the carrots.  In a separate bowl wisk together the vinegar, oil, and spices and then our it over your veggies. Toss and serve. You may find chilling it for a bit will cause the dressing to marry with the veggies and gives you a refreshing cold salad to go along side pretty much anything!

Enjoy and RAWk On!!!!

Ashley

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

JoOce to Boost ----> Immune System Tune Up

Okay, we're already staring October square in the eyes and with autumn already here there are tons of critters and germs floating through the air. I spend my days off in the throws of daycare germs and I can already feel my body sponging up all the cold season ugliness. No reason the fret though. All it takes is some planning, a little patience, some diligence, and well, a juicer of course. Here, I'll explain what I do to get ready for a big juice feast, how I prep every day's "meals", the recipes for this month's juice feast, and a little bonus or two. So here we go....

To begin with, I can already tell that JoOcing for health has become a bit of an addiction for me and my sister. We had a family gathering this past Sunday and with all of the food that was around we looked at each other and said, "It's time to fast again." Even with the little bit that we did eat (huge salads, fresh cole slaw (recipe will be shared Friday for Fresh Taste and black beans) we felt like we'd over indulged. I think it was because we were watching everyone else eat like they were going to the electric chair, but I digress.

So, it's time to fast again and I can see this being a monthly routine to reboot my digestive and immune system. This month, I plan to fast for at least seven days (I could go a little longer) on Lemon Ginger Blasts and Carrot-Apple Juice.

I prefer to make all of my juices at once. Early in the morning. This way if I have to run to work, or run errands or am in the middle of something around the house, I don't have to stop when I'm hungry to lug out the juicer. I clean it once and I don't see it again until the next morning. If you wish to save yourself even more time, do some of the prep the night before (as far as some of the chopping). Personally, it doesn't really take that long for me to wash and cut my produce so I just save it all for the morning. It's all about preference and scheduling.

I try to make at least three quarts of juice and I store them in mason jars (as I've previously explained). The reason being, mason jars are durable, inexpensive, and they seal tightly which prevents premature spoilage and enzyme leakage. Enzymes are whole other blog so let's keep going :-)



The Menu:

I wasn't too fond of the lemon ginger blast when I made it for myself on my last juice feast but my sister made it one weekend and it was very tasty. I've altered it to suit my taste buds and you can do the same. My only advice is if your a novice, don't do too much mixing. Keep your juices simple to avoid overwhelming your taste buds and your system. If you've been surviving on processed foods for a significant period of time, you will get sick on more complex juice recipes. Stick to no more than a few ingredients. This way, you go into cleansing slowly and you remember what you put in juice so that you can make it again.

Here's the recipe:

2 lemons
3 inches of ginger
1 bunch of spearmint
1 bunch of basil
1 bag of kale or spinach
2 celery stalks
4 persian cucumbers or 1 regular cucumber
2 apples (I like Pink Lady or Granny Smith)
1 habonero pepper

*recipe for one quart of juice

Another one of my favorite juices that I made my "go-to" during my first round of detox was the Carrot-Apple juice. Apple juice alone is very sweet and the carrots maintain the sweetness while cutting the overwhelming flavor of fresh apple juice.

Here's the recipe

1 lemon
4 apples
1 inch ginger
8-10 carrots

*recipe for one quart of juice

This round of fasting we'd like to bring YOU along for the ride! All it takes is a little bit of will and some discipline! Visit us here or on our Facebook page (GoddessNectar/RAWk the JoOce) or follow us on Twitter @GoddessNectar!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday and Keep JoOcing!

Ashley

Friday, September 23, 2011

FRESH TASTE FRIDAY --#2--Welcome to Autumn Smoothie

This is my "Welcome to Autumn Smoothie" this is sweet potato pie in a glass.  It has such an awesome earthy flavor.....and is so delicious. 





Recipe::
1 sweet potato medium size
2 inches fresh ginger root
1tsp fresh Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg (because I love it)
1 tsp Fresh Vanilla
1 tsp Agave Nectar
1 cup Coconut or Almond milk
Directions:: most smoothie or juice recipes just allow you to throw everything in but since we are using raw sweet potatoes it is best to add the almond milk then potatoes and use the puree button on your blender until it is a smooth consistency then add other ingredients and use your liquify button and enjoy....I sure am!!!!




Keep JoOcing,


Racquel

FRESH TASTE FRIDAY --#1-- Pink Lady Ginger Crisp

It's the first day of autumn and I couldn't think of a better way to bring in the cooler weather with this refreshing juice recipe.....


I'm not sure if I'm alone here, but nothing feels cozier to me than something with cinnamon in it. Of course, apples and cinnamon are always paired together and we can't ignore all of the gallons of "fresh" apple cider that has been coating our grocery store shelves for the last few weeks or so.

I can't go too many days without fresh juice and I came up with an AWESOME recipe for a fresh beverage that you can serve to friends and family for fall parties or simply to enjoy when ever you have a sweet drink craving. I'm definitely serving it this Thanksgiving!

*Ingredients for a quart of juice

6 large pink lady apples (my favorite and they are awesome in September)
3 inches of ginger (peeled)
1 Lemon (peeled)


--->Before preparing the juice, I added a splash of nutmeg and about a teaspoon of cinnamon to the empty mason jar


Pass the lemon through the juicer first, then the ginger, then the apples. (For a larger batch just double, triple, or quadruple the amounts listed above). Once you have your quart of juice, pour it into the jar (over the spices), shake to blend the spices and chill for a bit (maybe 30 minutes) and enjoy!

I like it more as a cold refreshing drink but you can leave it out and let it stay warm for a more soothing, warming drink.


Keep JoOcing,

Ashley :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Updates ---> Ashley's RAWSOME Journey





It's been a month and I'm learning so much every day as this journey progresses and my energy levels change along with my body and complexion.

Let's see.... where do I begin? Well, this isn't the first time that I've gone on a raw foods journey but this is the first time that I realized that there was such a huge revolution surrounding such an avant garde lifestyle. Avant-garde because our society is Burger Brainwashed. Anyway, now that I have all of these online resources, social networking sites JUST for raw foodists, and YouTube videos it makes the journey even more fun. And I can't forget how awesome it is to have a roadie in my sister, Racquel. The last few weeks have been amazing. I've never slept so good! I get a lot of comments about "The Glow." Apparently my complexion is changing and people that see me on a regular basis seem to have noticed almost immediately. I feel my body changing. My energy levels are through the roof. My dance team literally had me participate in a cartwheel contest after class last Tuesday for Pete's sake! ehem! Yes, I won! I feel amazing all of the time.


I take that back. I feel amazing when I eat the appropriate amount. And last week I mentioned how much that is (2,500 to 3,000 calories). As we know fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense and not calorie dense. Your body has to be given an abundance and variety of food so that you get all of the calories needed to successfully lose weight and detox sufficiently. The more you eat the more you crave. I guess that's with anything you eat. Trader Joe's black grapes are like my new fix and I crave them all the time! Which is probably why yesterday I sat at my desk and ate a poud of them without even thinking about it. When I ate boat-loads of candy that's all I wanted. No matter how much fruit I ate. I'm sure the more you eat burgers the more you want them. This is a lifestyle of abundance not deprivation. Which is a plus in its own right. However it gets tricky trying to cram in those calories.

Yesterday, I ate about five bananas for breakfast and a pound of grapes. For lunch, I had two apple-pears (which I don't really care too much for). Then I came across a snag! I had to get to my second job and the only things that were left in my cooler were two bananas, a plum, and a banana! I knew those calories would be gone within the first few hours of my shift and I'd be starving by the time the clock struck 10. This is why it's important to eat all you can. Who wouldn't want to eat all you wanted?

Right now, I'm practicing the 80/10/10 LFRV lifestyle (low-fat-raw-vegan). 80 percent fruits and veg, 10 percent protein, and 10 percent fat (nuts, seeds, and avocados). So far, I love it and will keep you all posted as to how things are progressing! Until next time.....


Keep JoOcing,

Ashley